Confident Knitting: Garter Stitch Short-Row Heel

By Ann Shayne
September 1, 2021

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  • This is brilliant as always! I’ve been knitting garter stitch heel flaps for some time now and love how stretchy they are. They also help me tell the difference between my socks and my partner since his are just longer enough to not fit me properly. He gets slipped stitch heel flaps and I get garter.

  • Now, we need an article about how to equally divide and then wind up these yummy self striping yarns! I would prefer to do Two At A Time so I knit then perfectly evenly…or as close to perfect as I can…AND so I don’t get stuck in some single sock back alley. How does everyone else handle this without having a tangled mess of yarn?

    • Monica, try the Uneek yarn MDK carries – it comes in two matching balls, each enough for one sock. Otherwise the only way I know is to sit down with a ball of yarn and a scale and divide them up. I’m fine with fraternal socks though so I hardly ever do that.

  • I’d be interested in discussion of other short row heel methods, like twin stitches for example.

  • Looks very nice as it adds a textural dash to the socks…
    forgive me for asking, but how does that garter heel feel to the wearer?? Is it more bumpy or does it feel more squishy?

  • Totally agree with your recommendation of this heel. It looks good, feels comfy, is easy to do. In addition to stripes it’s useful when you want to avoid breaking up self-patterning yarn as well as mosaic and stranded patterns. I learned it from a Lucy Neatby book and have used it many times over the past 15+ years that I’ve been a sock knitter. You can also match up a garter stitch toe.

  • Hmmmm…I might have to try this. Not normally a short row heel fan, but the garter stitch is worth a shot. They just don’t fit me as well. Plus, I can do the traditional one in my sleep. #lazyknitter

    • that’s the hardest thing for me too–change my sock knitting habits at this late stage??? Scary!

  • This is the first heel i learned many years ago and ir remains my favorite – love the cushiness.

  • Do the Zauberballs really do such perfect stripes? That is amazing. They might entice me back to the rabbit hole of sock knitting. What happens if you use them for scarves? Same striping or something else?

    • If I’m understanding correctly, the socks in the photos were knit with a self-striping yarn from Fab Funky Fibres (, not a Zauberball. The note about Zauberballs (and Uneek) was meant to answer the question of which yarns _carried by MDK_ would be good for this sock pattern. Using either of the alternative recommended yarns would give a different effect. The closest would probably be Uneek sock, but rather than tidy discrete colorful stripes on a neutral background, it produces the effect of a long colorful gradient overlaid with contrasting stripes.

      I would love to see MDK carry some of this genre of indie-dyed tidy self-stripers! It’s my favorite kind of sock yarn.